Friday, October 27, 2017

Should I Dress My Pet for Halloween?

Just like people, some pets like to dress up in clothing and hats.  Most animals prefer you don't anthropomorphize them by making them wear human outfits. 

You should only put a costume on your pet if they are comfortable with the idea. Out of respect for your pets' feelings and well-being, it's key you honor their wishes whether or not you agree with them.

As much as I want to dress up my dog Bodhi in a Halloween costume, he wants nothing to do with hats and human outfits. He becomes stressed and anxious when I try to outfit him. The most he's willing to tolerate are accouterments that go around his neck like bandanas, necklaces, and bows.

My Spirit dog, Kobe Bear loved wearing hats and necklaces. He happily wore them for hours.

My Spirit Dog, Kobe Bear loved wearing costumes.
Not my Bodhi! He clearly tells me that costumes aren't his thing by throwing hats off his head or sitting down when I put a vest on him. He also starts licking his lips and yawning, which tells me he's feeling stress.

Whether I like or not, I respect Bodhi's wishes, and I refrain from dressing him up. Wearing human outfits is not his thing. The last thing I want to do is stress him out or make him uncomfortable. So I have let go of my desire to put costumes and hats on him.

Even if your pet doesn't mind wearing outfits, be mindful of stress signals that your pet might be giving you like yawning, lip licking, turning their back to you, or avoiding eye contact. Some pets will run away and hide if they're not on board with your playing dress-up with them.

If your animal exhibits any of these "stress signals," take the outfit off immediately as it's not fair to your pet to keep them dressed.

Many pets tolerate wearing clothing to make their people happy. That's why it's key to keep a lookout for signs of stress or anxiety when your pet is wearing a costume.

If your pet doesn't like wearing a costume that covers his head and body, a better alternative might be a bandana or bow. Or nothing at all.

If your animal companion enjoys dressing up like Kobe Bear did, please keep the following in mind to make sure you and your animal family have a safe and enjoyable time:

  • If your pet is acting impatient, annoyed, uncomfortable, or unhappy wearing a costume, she is trying to tell you that wearing an outfit is not her cup of tea. (Learn more about Stress in Pets)
  • Costumes must provide freedom of movement for your pet's comfort and safety.  When choosing a pet costume, make sure it doesn't impair your pet's hearing, sight, or the ability to breathe, bark, eat, drink, or eliminate.  
  • Your pet's head and neck should be able to move freely in their outfit. If your pet is wearing a hat, double-check that isn't too big and doesn't cover her eyes.
  • Avoid potential Choking Hazards on costumes like bow ties, ribbons, hanging beads, or pieces that might fall off, along with other loose items that might cause choking if swallowed. Always watch for these kinds of objects and any other potential choking hazards on your pet's costumes.
  • Allow pets to get used to wearing their costumes before going trick or treating on Halloween.
  • Avoid itchy, uncomfortable, or restrictive materials. 
  • Choose a brightly colored costume so you can be seen at night, especially if you plan to take your pet Trick or Treating. Attaching a blinking light and using reflective material will increase their visibility.  If you use glow sticks and jewelry, keep in mind that they can be toxic to your pet if ingested. 
  • NEVER force your animal to wear clothing because most animals don't understand what human clothes are and why they need to wear them.
  • If if you really need to put an outfit on an animal and your animal hates wearing costumes, a better choice might be dressing up a stuffed animal.

It's essential your animals feel comfortable and safe wearing their Halloween costume. Otherwise, it's not worth upsetting them by making them do something that scares them.

Have a fun and safe Howl-o-ween!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

9 Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween can be one of the scariest and most dangerous days of the year for your pets. 

Minion Pug
Minion Pug

It can be upsetting and disorienting for your pets when humans transform themselves and their animals into unworldly beings like ghosts, Minions, Rocky, or Super Woman, 

And when pets get spooked by ghosts and goblins, they tend to run and hide to avoid danger. 

If you do nothing else this Halloween, make sure your pets are wearing their ID tags with your current cell number on it just in case your pet slips out when trick-or-treaters come to your door. 

Here are 9 Safety Tips to keep your pets safe on Halloween:

  • If you choose to dress up your pet, never leave them unattended while wearing their Halloween costume.
  • Make sure your pet's costume fits properly and doesn't' encumber their movements or cover their face, eyes, ears, and nose. 
  • Halloween candy, especially sweet confections containing chocolate or xylitol (a sugar substitute used in sugar-free candies and gum) can be dangerous to your pet. It's best to avoid feeding candy to your pet. 
  • Make sure you put your Halloween goodies in a safe place where your pet can't get access to them.
  • Keep jack-o-lanterns and lit candles away and out of reach of pets.
  • Keep Glow sticks and jewelry away from pets. They can be toxic if ingested. This awful tasting liquid can make animals salivate excessively and exhibit odd behavior.
  • Keep your pets in a quiet back room away from the front door where they can easily escape when tricker or treaters arrive. If your pet is nervous around strangers or tends to bite when stressed, they will feel safer in a room away from Halloween activity while the trick or treaters are out. Your dog will thank you for taking the stress off of them.
  • Don't leave pets outside unattended during Halloween trick or treating. If left alone, your pet can get spooked and even escape. Plus some people can do cruel things to pets, especially black cats.
  • Your pet's best chance of finding their way back to you if they ever go missing is by wearing identification tags and having a microchip. You can even put a GPS tracking collar on them.

Have a safe and fun Howl-o-ween!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

9 Successful Ways to Reduce Your Pet's Stress

Are you feeling stressed out? Are you worried and anxious?

In these uncertain times, you must take care of yourself because your stress affects your animal family.

Bruce tends to worry a lot.

If you're feeling worried, anxious, or stressed, then there's a good chance your animal family is also feeling stress, worry, and anxiety.

Animals prefer to live in a calm, peaceful environment. When the energy around them feels stressful, it can cause behavioral issues and illnesses.

The good news is there are several things you can easily do right now to help you and your animal family to feel calm in mind and body.

I asked my animal family and other animals to offer solutions to reduce our stress levels.

First, the animals want to remind us that we are all in this together. If nothing else, the Covid-19 pandemic is teaching us that we are all inter-connected. It's also telling us that we are part of a community, and we need to take care of ourselves and each other because we are all in this together. 

They also want us to stay positive, as well as being kind and compassionate to one another.

Animals suggest the following stress-reducing tips:
  1. Stay grounded like a wise old tree.
  2. BE in the present moment: try not to worry about tomorrow or yesterday.
  3. Breathe. When we are scared, we tend to hold our breath.
  4. Frequent play is an excellent stress reducer. 
  5. Play music that is uplifting, yet calming.
  6. Take frequent walks and connect with Mother Nature and Father Sky. 
  7. Meditate with your animals to create a calm, peaceful energy that is soothing and nurturing.
  8. Offer Reiki.
  9. Communicate with your animal family about all the changes and challenging times ahead.

Mona says receiving Reiki is a good stress reducer.

Distant Animal Communication and Animal Reiki sessions are two ideal ways to reduce stress while promoting overall well-being while strengthening your bond.

Talking with your animal during an Animal Communication session is similar to talk therapy in that you and your pets can express your thoughts, feelings, and viewpoints to prevent misunderstandings and miscommunications. Clear communication can eliminate issues and problems on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.

A distant Reiki session is like a spa treatment for you and your animal family that creates harmony and balance. Reiki promotes deep relaxation, which fosters self-healing along with an overall sense of peace, stability, and well-being.

One of the bonuses of distant Animal Communication and Reiki sessions is you and your pets receive their many benefits from the comfort of your home.

Bodhi says it's important to keep smiling.

There is no time like the present to de-stress your lives.

Your pets will thank you for taking good care of yourself and them!